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Roma case referred to European Court of Human Rights

7 November 1997

The European Commission on Human Rights referred the case of Assenov and others v. Bulgaria to the European Court of Human Rights in late September. In reviewing the case, which concerns a 14-year-old Romani boy who was beaten in police custody in the north-eastern Bulgarian town of Shumen in 1993, the Commission has held that there is not enough evidence to conclude that Mr Assenov was in fact ill-treated by the police. However, it has also decided that Mr. Assenov's allegations that he was beaten by the police were not properly investigated by the Bulgarian authorities and that therefore the Bulgarian authorities violated Mr Assenov's right to effective domestic remedy under Article 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). The Commission also found violations of Mr Assenov's right to liberty and security under Article 5(3) and 5(4), in connection with a separate set of events beginning in 1995. At that time, Mr Assenov was arrested and detained pending trial for a series of robberies. Additionally, Bulgaria has become one of the few countries in Europe to be found by the Commission to be in violation of Article 25, which guarantees that the right to file a complaint at the Commission will not be hindered in any way. In violation of these obligations, Bulgarian authorities put pressure on Mr Assenov and his family to withdraw his application in Strasbourg.

The Assenov case is only the second case explicitly concerning Roma to be referred to the Court by the Commission. In September of last year, the Court rejected the claim by Ms June Buckley, an English Gypsy, that English authorities had violated her rights by refusing her a permit to park a caravan on land which she owns (See Roma Rights, Fall 1996).

(ERRC)

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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